Alzheimer’s and Behavioral Changes
Handling Behavioral Changes with Dementia: Wandering
When it comes to caring for a loved one with Alzheimers disease, you must assume responsibility for your loved one and for the behavioral changes that tend to accompany their condition. When it comes to handling behavioral changes, one of the most terrifying types of behavioral changes these individuals tend to go through is wandering. This typically includes attempting to leave their current home or place of stay, roaming, rummaging and more without clear concept of where they are going or what they are doing. This is a scary and frustrating thing to deal with for caregivers and loved ones as many times those with Alzheimers disease can disappear with no one knowing where they are and it can lead to some very serious safety concerns. Here are some tips for handling wandering that can help keep your loved one safe,
- Never leave a person with dementia home alone; especially if you are worried about them wandering. If they have wandered in the past, try to monitor and record their patterns so you can get a better idea of how long these episodes last and when they tend to take place. This can help you take preventative acts to put wandering issues at bay. - Pay close attention to your loved ones behavior in the late afternoon and early evening. During this time, many individuals with dementia experience problems with sundowning, which can also lead to wandering or changes in their mood and behavior. - If you are concerned for the safety of your loved one, visit your health care provider to see if any medications may be able to help with these episodes. If your loved one is wandering due to hallucinations or delusions, there may be some medications that can help. - Make sure that your loved ones needs are attended to and that they have enough food and water and that they are being taken to the bathroom as needed. This can help calm any urges that may lead them to get up and wander in the first place. - Try to help maintain a calm environment for your loved one. When an environment has a great deal of stimuli like loud noise, screaming or music, this can cause discomfort and an urge to leave their surroundings. Many times this urge can spark a wandering episode. - Take safety precautions into your own hands. Make sure that your loved one is wearing an identification bracelet and that they have some identification on them at all times, should they wander. There are also transmitters that can be worn around the neck or wrist that can help track individuals who wander.